wildlife focus question..pic inside. (1 image)
I was able to grab a couple of pics of a cinnamon black bear. I shoot with an Sony A700, this photo was taken with a minolta 80-200 f2.8. I used a sekonic l-508 light meter. I used photo shot to touch up the pic as I must have set the meter wrong and the photo was a little dark. The first pic has the bear in great focus, the second was a little out of focus as I turned my head a bit when I seen that mommy bear had a cub. Being that I did not want to be mauled I quickly backed away.

Should I set the focus to wide? The last pic is where she realized that her cub had wondered a bit to close...damn if only it was in focus..I suppose everyone had that one amazing photo that is just abit out of focus. Any tips on shooting would be great..

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Ahh the photo that almost was....tears.

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Comments (6)

Both shots were made at f2.8 so the depth of field was quite shallow. That emphasized any focus mistakes..

Both were shot at 200mm which makes the shutter speed on the slow side, especially when you add in photographer nerves. I suspect camera shake is part of the "softness" of the picture. Even the parts of the picture that were focused by the lens are not really sharp..

The lens will not be at it's best wide open and zoomed to the telephoto extreme, and that may have contributed to the softness of the in focus parts too..

The eyes are almost universally the point that should be in focus..

Wildlife photography is VERY hard to do well. It requires top notch equipment and technique, and lots and lots of time spent working at it..

Nothing is enough for the man to whom nothing is enough...

Comment #1

Your settings were.

1. 200mm2. F2.83. 1/320"4. Metering=Pattern5. ISO 250.

I can't tell if you had IS on or not and I can't tell how the AF was set up. So here are my suggestions.

Because you had a long zoom at F2.8 you signifcantly decreased your depth of field (the area that would be in focus). Also because the shutter speed was only 1/320 movement of the subject or the camera would cause blur. In the case of the camera this would have been somewhat mitgated if the IS was on..

Be sure to use center focus and have IS set to ON and have a stable shooting stance/platform (monopod?) Second set the Fstop to at least F5.6 so you will get a greater depth of field and the ISO high enough that the shutter speed can be set to no less then 1/500" to insure you freeze any movement. I also would suggest that you shoot in RAW so you can adjust WB if necessary..

Better luck next time. I agree that we have all had "ones that got away" but you may be suprised by how often we get a second chance..

Good Luck.

JimOlympus E-510 and a bunch of stuff to hang on it...

Comment #2

.... although it might not be much of a consolation..

Hey, don't beat up on yourself, too much... wish for better luck next time.Regards,Baz..

Comment #3

I will work on my f stop setting and shutter speed. I do shoot in raw. thanks for the thoughts and tips. As for a second chance, yes they do come around and I will patiently wait for mine....ahhhh..

Comment #4

8mycash wrote:.

I used photo shot to touch up thepic as I must have set the meter wrong and the photo was a little.

I'm not sure what photo shot is or how to touch up a pic with it, but the issue was focus. I'm also not sure why you'd use a hand held light meter when your camera was not set on manual..

In your first photo, it looks to me that you focused in front of the bear and in the second you focused quite a bit behind the bear. I think that using a single spot for focus would be better. I'd have used that spot at or almost at his eye. Then I'd have let her rip at 5 frames per second until the buffer filled..

I've found when doing wildlife, you need to set things up to get the shot. Usually, like in sports, high frames per second and a top notch focusing system is quite important. In your images there's a lot of brush and limbs trying to steal focus. You've got a fairly decent camera with these capabilities. An entry level DSLR would be too slow. Use those capabiilities.

You'd have taken 15 or so chances with one button press. That's why better cameras have higher frame rates..

Cheers, Craig..

Comment #5

Hard to tell but it looks like light wasnt the bestMy P and S would struggle in tose conditions given I would be using ISO 200. Im not sure how sonys cope with higher ISO but as said shutter speeds of 1/500 would be ideal although your shutter speeds should have been adequate if he wasnt moving to fast.Definitly use spot focus especially with all that shrubbery.

- Wildlife, darn hard unless it's in a zoo. ive got a few shockers of a mallee fowl (endangered australian ground bird) they just wont sit and pose for you..

Comment #6

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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